I'm not materialistic. I'm really not. I don't care about what I do or don't have. But there is one service that I am certain would make my life a happier one if I could afford to pay for it: I would like every single item of bedding we own to be made of high thread count Egyptian cotton and for somebody to wash it and iron it for me and change the beds every single day. Can you imagine that? Every night would be a clean sheets night. Heaven.
Pre-child, I was very fussy about where I would choose to sleep and what I would sleep on. My husband introduced me to Travelodges early in our relationship (see? I am that posh that I'd never stayed in one pre 2006). The horror.
"Richard, there is a pubic hair in this bed."
"Pick it out."
"But I'll know it was there."
And, true to my word, I stayed awake all night thinking about the pube.
I could also not sleep in beds on which there was a stain on the sheets or a smell that I disagreed with (say, an unidentified fabric conditioner), or had been washed in biological washing powder or, as was the case when I was doing my PGCE and the only place I had to file my gazillion ring binders and text books was under the bed, a bed that has work underneath it. Easy care sheets and duvets were tolerated but felt nasty on my skin, and anything the slightest bit bobbly was an abomination.
Since having a child, however, I have discovered the following to be true:
1. It is entirely possible to sleep on a bobbly easy care sheet.
2. It is entirely possible to sleep under a duvet cover with a stain on it.
3. It is entirely possible to sleep in a bed that has had breast milk leaked into it for 3 weeks and a sizable blob of baby sick stagnating on your pillow.
4. And a skid mark from when a nappy went awry.
5. And if you finally decide that this is all too disgusting and rip all the sheets off with the intention of changing them but get distracted when your baby manages to crawl into the bathroom and dive head first into the toilet, it is also entirely possible to sleep in a bed that has no sheets or duvet cover or pillow cases on it at all.
6. There is now all sorts of shit under my bed - some work, some books, a lot of Thomas the Tank Engine figurines, a discarded used pair of Huggies Pull Ups occasionally. Guess what? I can still sleep.
7. You could empty the entire contents of an intimate region epilator into my bed and I wouldn't even notice these days. Because I'd be asleep.
8. You can sleep on the sofa.
9. You can sleep on the hall floor with your head resting on the first stair.
10. What you can't do is sleep in any bed which also contains a child who's hell bent on sleeping horizontally and kicking you in the face every 30 seconds.
It really is quite amazing what sleep deprivation does for your standards.
Despite that, throughout the entire first 18 months of Rory's life, I had one fantasy and one fantasy alone: It involved leaving him with somebody else, going to a hotel on my own, removing my clothes, sliding under the cool, crisp cotton hotel sheets and sleeping for an undisclosed period of time. There was none of that "oh no, how could I possibly leave my precious baby?" Bollocks to that - I was knackered. It is a fantasy that still sees me through the tough times even now. That and the one about paying someone to iron my bed sheets every day. Until I can afford to do that, I will have to continue to sleep in carnage. I don't mind too much - it reminds me that although I've come a long way, there's still a good amount of time to go before I finally emerge from the challenges of early parenthood. I'll know I've got myself back when I start kicking off about toenails in the bed again.